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Kibaki invites Obama to Kenya

NAIROBI, November 12 – President Mwai Kibaki has invited US President-elect Barack Obama to Kenya, just a week after his “well-deserved” victory.

Mr Obama placed a telephone call to State House Nairobi on Tuesday night, during which President Kibaki urged the President-elect to consider visiting his home country at his earliest convenience.

A statement from the Presidential Press Service said the discussions by the two leaders were fruitful.

“During the telephone conversation, President Kibaki once again congratulated President-elect Obama on his historic and well deserved victory,” the statement read in part.

The statement did not reveal other details of the conversation, only stating that the two leaders had discussed issues of mutual interest and future plans of engagement.

“President Kibaki said the Kenyan people fully understood that the new US President owed his allegiance to the American people but were confident that Kenya would always have a special place in the President-elect’s heart,” the statement stated.

President Kibaki is also understood to have pledged to strengthen his co-operation and ties with the United States of America which has been on the forefront in calling for proper governance and an end to corruption in Kenya.

It however remained unclear if the two leaders had discussed the controversial Waki report which has drawn mixed reactions from both the local and international community over its implementation.

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The US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger and the US Undersecretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Fraser have repeatedly demanded for the report’s full implementation.

As the government moved closer to the deadline given for its implementation, many will be waiting to hear Mr Obama’s recommendations considering it is a matter that has drawn international reaction.

The report calls for the establishment of a local tribunal by February 28 next year failure to which the International Criminal Court (ICC) will take up the matter and investigate the suspects named in a secret envelop that was handed over to former UN chief Kofi Annan.

Those implicated include Cabinet ministers, politicians and prominent business personalities accused of having funded or organised the post election violence which left nearly 1,500 people killed and another 350,000 displaced.

President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga had earlier pledged to implement the report but appeared to waver when their respective party members opposed their stands.

In the meantime, ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has made it clear that he is carefully watching the steps taken by the government and could invoke his powers on March 1, 2009 when the deadline for local action lapses.

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